Adrian Boteanu / Sun Staff Photographer

March 14, 2017

Winter Storm Stella Closes Cornell Campus

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A heavy downfall of snow from Winter Storm Stella forced Cornell to take the rare step of closing its Ithaca campus at noon on Tuesday, cancelling all classes and exams. The campus is expected to remain closed until noon on Wednesday.

Essential student and campus facilities including certain dining halls will remain open.

The last full-day campus closure was exactly 24 years ago on Sunday, March 14, 1993. The next day, in 1993, Cornell remained shut until 3 p.m.

Most similar to Tuesday’s closing is the Valentine’s Day blizzard in 2007 that also forced Cornell to cancel afternoon classes.

Tompkins County Sheriff Ken Lansing ordered that roads be closed at 3 p.m. except for emergency personnel, people driving home from work or others traveling for necessary health or safety reasons.

Synapsis, Franny’s and Big Red Barn are among the closed eateries. Nine libraries across campus, including Olin, Uris and Mann library, and the Cornell Store are also expected to close early.

Marc Alessi ‘18, secretary and forecasting chair of the American Meteorological Society’s Cornell chapter, said he expects Stella to drop 12 to 18 inches of snow on Ithaca by Wednesday afternoon.

The heaviest snow, he said, is likely to begin this afternoon and continue into the evening, and Wednesday will bring gusts of wind up to 40 m.p.h. and additional lake effect snow.

The National Weather Service placed the county under a winter storm warning until 8 p.m. on Wednesday, and estimated a 34 percent chance that Ithaca will accumulate 18 inches of snow or more.

TCAT buses will be running on a reduced schedule, with several routes closed until tomorrow morning. Routes 11, 14 and 36 will be on snow detour for the remainder of the day, according to the latest update.

Ithaca College, which is currently on Spring Break, canceled its operations earlier on Tuesday, and many businesses and agencies — including the Ithaca City School District, City Hall and Tompkins County offices — have shut their doors for the day.